Interview with Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, CMD, Hiranandani Group
The Builder Extraordinaire
Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hiranandani Group and Hiranandani Communities zest for life is inspirational. At the age of 67, he has the young man’s zeal to keep expanding the horizons of his organization. Speaking to Sapna Srivastava he recounted his journey and briefed on his new ventures.
Niranjan Hiranandani is credited with changing the skyline of Mumbai in Powai, Thane and now Panvel. The cities of Pune, Chennai and Ahmedabad will soon follow suit. But it all started from Powai in Mumbai where his office building is located. Meeting him in the conference room adjacent to his own office, one could see outside the window, the outline of neo-classic buildings of Hiranandani Gardens, Powai and obviously the first question that comes to mind is why such an architecture. “I wanted the building design to be timeless. That is how the whole idea about European architecture came up but not many appreciated this concept at that time. Today, a brand new building or a building made 20 years ago; they all look new and similar. This is perennial and attractive architecture”, replied Hiranandani.
Indeed, the classic design and architecture continues in all Hiranandani developments and has become the signature style. But, wanting to know more about how the whole idea of developing a mixed-use township came about when such a concept did not even exist in India, I coaxed him further. Ever so gladly, Hiranandani obliged, “My brother Surendra and me started the real-estate business by doing small and medium projects in Versova, Malad, Ville Parle and Mulund. Every time I finished a project, I would look out of the window of the building and would be disappointed of the views of the surroundings. This set me thinking of creating an atmosphere that was beautiful everywhere. Powai at that time was an undeveloped quarry land and we were able to get about 250 acres at reasonable price. With an aim of creating a lifestyle, the construction at Powai was started in 1987. Architect Hafeez Contractor who had just started his practice and had done our Versova project Beach Classic joined in 1988-89 and has been working with us ever since. We built the entire infrastructure from roads, electricity, storm water drains, sewage treatment plants, telephone cabling ducts, schools shopping complex, hospital etc. Of course, most people were cynical of what I was doing and it was a huge risk for us, of building an entire suburb from scratch. We met with resistance to change but managed to convince the authorities that our intentions were clean. Few in the government department supported us, though the concepts like cement concrete roads or recycling of water were new at that time.”
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